Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards, QC, is stepping down from her role to become a Grand Court judge.
Ms. Richards, the first person to hold the position of director of public prosecutions, after being appointed in 2011, will be replaced, at least temporarily, by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran, from Dec. 1.
Governor Martyn Roper announced Ms. Richards’ new role in a press release Thursday. Earlier this week, he announced the appointment of three new acting judges to the Grand Court.
According to the press release, Ms. Richards was among four candidates short-listed for the post after the Judicial and Legal Services Commission carried out an open recruitment process advertising the position locally and overseas.
“Ms. Richards has earned the respect of the community through her hard work and dedication as both Cayman’s first Director of Public Prosecutions and in her many other roles in the Legal Department,” Governor Roper said. “Her extensive experiences and skills prosecuting matters in the criminal division will be an asset to our judiciary.”
Mr. Moran will serve as acting director while the Judicial and Legal Services Commission carries out a recruitment exercise for the post of director.
Addressing the question of whether defendants previously prosecuted by Ms. Richards might appear before her when she presides over future cases, the commission stated that “she will, of course, have no dealings with criminal cases which she indicted as the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
According to the commission, once Ms. Richards formally takes up the post as Grand Court judge, “the matters and responsibilities will be allocated by the Honourable Chief Justice in a manner as to ensure no conflicts of interest arise between her former responsibilities as Director of Public Prosecutions and her responsibilities as Judge of the Grand Court.”
Before Dec. 1, she may assist Acting Director Mr. Moran with administrative and financial matters as it relates to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions during the transitional period, but from that date, she will no longer hold “constitutional responsibility to institute and undertake criminal proceedings,” the commission noted.
Before being appointed as Cayman’s director of public prosecutions in 2011, Ms. Richards served in the Cayman Islands as solicitor general and chief officer in the Portfolio of Legal Affairs from 2005, senior Crown counsel from 2003–2004, and Crown counsel from 1996–2003. She also served for three years in Turks and Caicos and in Jamaica in various legal posts for approximately seven years. She was called to the Bar in 1986 and took Queen’s Silk in 2009.
The position of director of public prosecutions was created under Cayman’s new constitution in 2009 and the role was filled for the first time by Ms. Richards two years later.